Small Leak in Evaporative Emission System -- Saturn Fails to Fix

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by George, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. George

    George Guest

    Hello Fellow Saturners --

    I have posted once before about my P0442 SES code that keeps coming
    up. Saturn mechanics don't seem to have any answer!

    On 6/10/03 2 days after 36-month warranty expired and 1 week after
    state inspection, and with only 12996 miles on car I brought car to
    Saturn Service because of SES code (of P0442). "Tech inspected and
    found all operations to be normal -- tech noted if concern persists
    owner will need to leave vehicle for the day to remove fuel tank."

    On 6/18/03 I again presented car to Saturn Service with same code:
    Diagnose SES lite -- tech inspected and found code P0442 -- tech
    removed tank and replaced the fuel pump seal as the 1st step of a
    diagnostic repair -- drove vehicle for several miles and lite did not
    return. No charge for repair -- due to just out of factory warranty."

    On 7/8/03 I again presented car to Saturn Service: "Tech diagnosed SES
    light and found code P0442, evap code. "Tech checked system and
    replaced canister purge solenoid which was faulty."

    On 7/25/03 again presented car to Saturn Service: Diagnosed computer
    to have stored code P0442. Road tested car and all systems checked
    out to be operating as designed. Unable to duplicate code condition.
    As a diagnostic step/ most probable cause, we replaced the fuel vapor
    pressure sensor. NMo charge to customer ///// goodwill

    On 8/12/03 again presented car to Saturn Service: "Diagnosed the
    Service Engine Soon Light to be coming on due to code P0442. All
    systems check out good. Unable to duplicate condition We replaced
    the purge solenoid as a diagnostic step to see if code does not reset.
    No charge to customer.

    Prior to the 7/25 visit I phoned Saturn Customer Service in Tennessee
    and all they coud promise was that they would contact my dealer.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what may be the cause of the
    problem? Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I should approach
    Saturn about this problem. Each time I bring in my car, I end up
    having to leave it overnight and inconvenience other people in family
    for transportation.

    Should I get rid of the car? These guys seem to have no idea how to
    fix this.

    George, Sep 12, 2003
  2. George

    Lane Guest

    Should I get rid of the car? These guys seem to have no idea how to
    You want to get rid of the car just because the service engine soon light
    comes on? If the stored code or problem doesn't cause any driveability or
    mileage problems, I wouldn't see it as that drastic. If your current
    retailer's service department can't take care of it, try a different one and
    you may have better luck. Or, put a piece of black electrical tape over the
    service engine soon light. Granted, that's not the proper way to address
    the problem. But if Saturn themselves and all their techs can't figure it
    out with all their equipment and hands on it, it probably isn't likely we
    can take care of it here. Sorry.

    If this is emissions related - isn't there a longer warranty on that stuff
    (longer than the 3/36)?

    Lane [ l a n e @ p a i r . c o m ]
    Lane, Sep 12, 2003
  3. Yes there is an yes it is. Saturn's not fixing it for free out of
    'goodwill', they're fixing it for free because federal laws says they
    must. Let them keep at it - if they want to bill you, remind them that
    the car is under a federally mandated emissions warrenty, and that they
    can be big trouble if they start charging you for this stuff - EVAP is
    most certainly an emissions component and therefore is under the
    warrenty (which is like 5 years 50k miles). EVAP's a cool system anyway
    - you want it working.
    Philip Nasadowski, Sep 12, 2003
  4. George

    red dragon Guest

    I checked my Haynes Repair Manual and the P0 codes are for OBD II
    modules. The manual does not list anything for P0442 code. This link
    talks about Ford OBD-II evap modules with code P0442. This was done
    using a search for "code P0442".

    IF that doesn't help, then check and look for the year
    of your model under the Technical Service Bulletins to see if there is
    any information about P0442. A check of my model year shows a few
    TSB's with P0 codes.

    Good luck

    Red Dragon
    red dragon, Sep 13, 2003
  5. George

    red dragon Guest

    Upon further investigation, I found this link which is a GM tech help
    service and it describes what you are experiencing and the recommended
    service to correct the problem.

    This is the April 2001 techlink which describes the seal between the
    sender and the gas tank as allowing air into the gas tank which
    results in the rate of rise as described in the tech tip link below.
    It gives the replacement seal number to alleviate this problem which
    seems to be found mostly on 2000-2001 Cavaliers, Grand Ams, Sunfires
    and Alero's. You will need Acrobat Reader to read the PDF file.

    Red Dragon
    red dragon, Sep 13, 2003
  6. It sounds like they're just randomly replacing parts instead of following
    the proper service procedure and doing the proper diagnosis. Did it occur to
    them that if they're seeing an "evaporative emissions system - small leak"
    code, it might be due to a leak in the evaporative system? Did they do a
    pressure test?
    Robert Hancock, Sep 13, 2003
  7. George

    red dragon Guest

    Further follow up

    Check this official GM site which describes the P0442 problem and
    resolution. This was from April 2001.

    You will need Acrobat reader to view the document that is linked as it
    is a PDF file.

    Red Dragon
    red dragon, Sep 13, 2003
  8. There can be plenty of causes of this diagnostic code. The problem described
    in that document doesn't apply to this vehicle..
    Robert Hancock, Sep 13, 2003
  9. George

    Blue87T Guest

    Its been a long while since I actually had to fix one but here it goes...
    Blue87T, Sep 15, 2003
  10. George

    Blue87T Guest

    ...hit enter too soon .

    I think the diagnostic procedure is to basically pressurize the EVAP system and
    listen with a super sensative stethascope type setup ( they were required tools
    at the dealer ) . Then you would basically sniff around the car for the sound
    of escaping air. Pretty straight foward and easy to do . The most common
    problem I would find is that the fuel filler neck plastic would get nicked by
    sticking the nozzle in . You could often visually see the gouge/nick with your
    eyes once the general area was nailed down.

    That isnt to say this is your problem or that a more "common" cause has arisen
    in the last 3yrs since I worked @ Saturn but it is a realistic guess. I would
    definitely ask them for a good reason why they havent found the problem yet the lite on when you take it in or is it intermittent?
    Blue87T, Sep 15, 2003
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